Epiphany: The Importance of Putting Yourself First

As I stood in the middle of the shoe aisle starring at an array of stiletto boots, clutching my bill money; I realized I was more important than any bill. This understanding couldn’t have come at a better time. You see, at this particular time in my life. I had graduated over a year ago and was eventually forced to take a part-time job that barely paid enough money to keep the lights on. After a year of scraping just to get by. I had grown tired of not having enough money to buy what I wanted, tired of watching as women of all shapes and sizes confidently strutted about in the latest fashions. Simply put, I was tired of everyone (including my own seed) coming first. So the weekend I got paid, I made room for me.

I spent half an hour trying on a sundry of boots. Aware, but unsympathetic to my bill collectors; I bought a pair of black boots. Ironically, they costed just as much as the bill I should’ve paid. Knowing I didn’t have the money to cover both the boots and bill, I pleaded temporary insanity, and walked my happy ass out of the store.

Locked in my room, I pranced back and forth, examining the boots I had just bought. I tried them with every decent outfit that hung in my closet. I didn’t have a clue where or when I would wear them. It didn’t matter. For once I felt sexy, happy, and included.

I grew tired of prancing, dressing, and then undressing. As I sat on the edge of the bed prying the boots from my feet, my mother came to mind. I remembered the words she had spoken to me in my late teens as we walked to the corner store one late afternoon. She said, “Anybody who didn’t get paid, won’t get paid. I got to get my hair and nails done.” It wasn’t until I was seven months shy of my 30th birthday, and found myself between a pimp and a hard place; I finally overstood that random statement. Before, I had taken on my fathers ideals about money and paying bills. I made sure they were paid on time and before time. Even if they left me broke. Because I’d always had enough, It was hard for me to understand the reason my mom had chosen to leave bills unpaid, making something as trivial as hair and nails of utmost importance. Naturally, I was dumbfounded when I realized that fourteen years later, the question I had never asked aloud, had been answered by non other than life.

My mama ruled her queendom in survival mode. Somewhere down the line, she too realized she had to sacrifice a bill or two for her sanity. The more I thought about it the more I overstood the situation. You see, I discovered doing something, anything for yourself is just as important——if not more important as taking care of your kids, or maintaining your bills. When a woman, especially a single black mother, stops taking care of her mind, body and soul, the quintessence of who she was and is dies. The death of one’s esteem about herself effects how she displays herself, and vise versa. Before I walked into that store I felt like a number——like I had been wading in a pool of lifelessness. I had given all that I could give. The moment I decided to do me, I was rejuvenated. The night I danced and pranced in my new boots, it seemed all color had rushed back into my soul. Suddenly, I remembered my power. I remembered my strength——my place in queendom. Mostly, I remembered that I am STILL a woman.

In remembering my womanhood, my mind raced back to Cleopatra and Nefertiti. I wondered if this is how they felt everyday of their lives, and If this is what I’m supposed to feel like everyday of mine.

I know what you’re thinking. You got all of that from a pair of boots? You’re damn right. If I have learned anything about this world, its that we are creatures of forgetfulness. The art of forgetting makes remembering that much more powerful. The boots showed me that we women somehow remembered how to rule a nation (our lives, children and homes), but forgot to do so as women. Single mothers have ruled their households like men so long, the femininity has eroded. Thank God there are still monarchs like my mama, who are unconsciously, and properly showing us how to maintain a throne.

A social worker from Cape Cod Child and Family Services introduced Teneisha Franklin to the world of writing. As a young teen she hoarded much anger. Seeing this, the social worker advised her to invest in a journal. Little did she know, that journal would be just the outlet that would soothe her explosive emotions. Teneisha attended Fort Valley State University in fall 2007. She wrote articles for the universities newspaper, “Peachite,” and contributed her writing skills to news shows like WFVSUTV21 and Campus Chatter. She received her B.F.A (Bachelor of Fine Arts) degree in May 2009. Since graduating, Teneisha has written features, biographies and reviews for artists like Elise 5000 and R.E.A.L (Respected Entrepreneur At Large). Ms. Franklin also runs ablog called Imaginari, it is mainly used to discuss love, and relationships.

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